Saturday, November 10, 2007


On my flight from Strasbourg I sat next to a French woman who was traveling to Baltimore. She told me that Sunday was a holiday. I realized it was November 10, but I corrected her. The holiday was on Monday.

(When I got back to New York Kelley corrected me. The holiday is observed on Monday, but the holiday itself is November 11. I know the significance of November 11, but I also know the tendency for US holidays commemorating historical events to occur on historically insignificant days.)

I arrived at my gate in Paris just in time to get on the plane. My seat was on the aisle. The woman sitting by the window was very tall and had long (bleached) blond hair. She claimed to be sick, or claustrophobic and asked a flight attendant to find her a seat in first class. To her credit she did look uncomfortable and very tired.

That is, as long as the flight attendant was in the vicinity. She was making phone calls, laughing, joking and appearing to be perfectly fine. When the flight attendant would reappear this woman suddenly became afflicted. There were no seats available in first class, but nice try!

Flying Air France was a pleasure. A salmon and pasta meal was served, and it was quite good. Each seat had its own video monitor. One of the channels showed the view from a camera that was mounted somewhere on the plane's underbelly. The view as we approached New York was pretty cool.

The Transformers movie was playing so I decided to watch it. I loved the Transformers when I was a kid... the toys, the cartoons and even the comic books. I was looking forward to seeing the movie, despite the trailer where one of the Transformers emerges from a swimming pool to be greeted by a fearless little girl clutching a stuffed animal.

I would have been better entertained had I left the monitor on the camera channel, even though much of the flight was flying over the Atlantic Ocean. The movie was just as awful as that trailer made me fear. Here's why:

  1. Every human character (except the girl who co-stared) was annoying to the extreme. Shia Labeouf playing the unjustifiably cocky dork, John Turturro playing an over-the-top secret agent, Shia Labeouf's parents... ugh.
  2. Every robotic character was annoying to the extreme. Bumblebee couldn't talk, so he would communicate by playing parts of songs through his stereo. This was even dumber in the movie than it sounds. During the scene where the Autobots introduce themselves and perform various dance and karate moves I started to tune the movie out.
  3. The Transformers were so ornamented and similar in appearance that it was impossible to tell one from another. The action scenes were so fast paced that it was hard to see what was going on.
  4. The storyline involving Ebay was preposterous. I would have preferred that the Transformers located their "All Spark" by kidnapping the Tooth Ferry and getting Santa Claus to pay the ransom by revealing its location.

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